Saturday, July 30, 2011

If Debt Ceiling Is Breached, Troops Still Need to Be Paid

28 Jul 2011 17:16 Africa/Lagos

PR Newswire

WASHINGTON, July 28, 2011

WASHINGTON, July 28, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Should Congress fail to raise the national debt ceiling by Aug. 2, The American Legion says the paychecks of servicemembers must not be sacrificed.

"We visited this same issue last April when the federal government narrowly averted a shutdown," said Jimmie L. Foster, national commander of The American Legion. "At that time, we urged Congress not to default on payments to our troops, and we are urging the same course of action again."

Foster, a military retiree with 24 years of service in the Army and Marine Corps, said it was inconceivable to him that Congress would subject its men and women in uniform to such stress – twice in only four months.

"As a nation that shows so much support for those who defend us in Iraq and Afghanistan, we really need to consider the message being sent to our military by the political brinksmanship that Congress insists on playing," Foster said.

"Capitol Hill needs to stop maneuvering for next year's elections and start practicing sound government – solve the debt ceiling crisis today and stop holding as hostages the pay of our servicemembers and the benefits of our veterans," he said.

Peter Gaytan, executive director of The American Legion in Washington, was briefed by the White House on July 26 on the possibly calamitous effects of a default on America's debts.

"The White House said – point blank – that it did not know yet what will happen to our military and veterans population if a solution isn't found to this debt crisis, because America has never faced this kind of threat before. We've never been on the verge of harming so seriously our economic standing in the world, because our own government can't agree on an acceptable course of action," Gaytan said.

During the briefing, Gaytan said, the White House restated its message that any short-term solution to the debt crisis is unacceptable. "A long-term solution is needed that not only includes budget cuts but – more importantly – meaningful debt reduction in the coming years."

While Washington generates rhetoric about the wisdom of raising America's debt ceiling, cutting budgets, and increasing taxes, "troops hearing about it in the field are worrying about one thing," said Barry Searle, director of the Legion's national security/foreign relations division.

"They are worried there won't be enough money to pay them. They are out there, dealing with firefights and IED explosions, and wondering if their families will be able to pay next month's rent because Congress can't make up its mind," he said.

The American Legion is absolutely insistent on troops getting paid without interruption, Searle said, because so many servicemembers pay rent, mortgages, car loans and many other bills with automatic deductions from their bank accounts.

"If a single paycheck gets held up by this debt crisis, a military family's credit rating can go right down the tubes," Searle said. "And the effects of that wouldn't go away for a long time to come. Congress needs to think about all the ramifications for our military if it fails to solve this debt crisis in the next few days."

Foster said Congress and the White House should be commended for legislation and initiatives that focus on the well-being of America's military families. "Yet all of that good will won't matter very much if we have to stop paying our armed forces, have to stop paying benefits to veterans who have earned them, all because Congress wanted to play 'chicken' more than it wanted to act in the best interests of our country."

SOURCE The American Legion

CONTACT: Craig Roberts, +1-202-263-2982

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Debt Ceiling Debate

Quarterly Earnings Reports

BREAKING: President Obama's Statement on Debt Negotiations

This morning President Obama delivered a statement once again calling on Congress to compromise to avoid defaulting on the Nation’s debt and calling on the American people to make their voices heard in this debate.

Read the President’s statement:

Good morning, everybody. I want to speak about the ongoing and increasingly urgent efforts to avoid default and reduce our deficit.

Right now, the House of Representatives is still trying to pass a bill that a majority of Republicans and Democrats in the Senate have already said they won’t vote for. It’s a plan that would force us to re-live this crisis in just a few short months, holding our economy captive to Washington politics once again. In other words, it does not solve the problem, and it has no chance of becoming law.

What’s clear now is that any solution to avoid default must be bipartisan. It must have the support of both parties that were sent here to represent the American people -– not just one faction. It will have to have the support of both the House and the Senate. And there are multiple ways to resolve this problem. Senator Reid, a Democrat, has introduced a plan in the Senate that contains cuts agreed upon by both parties. Senator McConnell, a Republican, offered a solution that could get us through this. There are plenty of modifications we can make to either of these plans in order to get them passed through both the House and the Senate and would allow me to sign them into law. And today I urge Democrats and Republicans in the Senate to find common ground on a plan that can get support -- that can get support from both parties in the House –- a plan that I can sign by Tuesday.

Now, keep in mind, this is not a situation where the two parties are miles apart. We’re in rough agreement about how much spending can be cut responsibly as a first step toward reducing our deficit. We agree on a process where the next step is a debate in the coming months on tax reform and entitlement reform –- and I’m ready and willing to have that debate. And if we need to put in place some kind of enforcement mechanism to hold us all accountable for making these reforms, I’ll support that too if it’s done in a smart and balanced way.

So there are plenty of ways out of this mess. But we are almost out of time. We need to reach a compromise by Tuesday so that our country will have the ability to pay its bills on time, as we always have -- bills that include monthly Social Security checks, veterans’ benefits and the government contracts we’ve signed with thousands of businesses. Keep in mind, if we don’t do that, if we don’t come to an agreement, we could lose our country’s AAA credit rating, not because we didn’t have the capacity to pay our bills -- we do -- but because we didn’t have a AAA political system to match our AAA credit rating.

And make no mistake -– for those who say they oppose tax increases on anyone, a lower credit rating would result potentially in a tax increase on everyone in the form of higher interest rates on their mortgages, their car loans, their credit cards. And that’s inexcusable.

There are a lot of crises in the world that we can’t always predict or avoid -– hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, terrorist attacks. This isn’t one of those crises. The power to solve this is in our hands. And on a day when we’ve been reminded how fragile the economy already is, this is one burden we can lift ourselves. We can end it with a simple vote –- a vote that Democrats and Republicans have been taking for decades, a vote that the leaders in Congress have taken for decades.

It’s not a vote that allows Congress to spend more money. Raising the debt ceiling simply gives our country the ability to pay the bills that Congress has already racked up. I want to emphasize that. The debt ceiling does not determine how much more money we can spend, it simply authorizes us to pay the bills we already have racked up. It gives the United States of America the ability to keep its word.

Now, on Monday night, I asked the American people to make their voice heard in this debate, and the response was overwhelming. So please, to all the American people, keep it up. If you want to see a bipartisan compromise -– a bill that can pass both houses of Congress and that I can sign -- let your members of Congress know. Make a phone call. Send an email. Tweet. Keep the pressure on Washington, and we can get past this.

And for my part, our administration will be continuing to work with Democrats and Republicans all weekend long until we find a solution. The time for putting party first is over. The time for compromise on behalf of the American people is now. And I am confident that we can solve this problem. I’m confident that we will solve this problem. For all the intrigue and all the drama that’s taking place on Capitol Hill right now, I’m confident that common sense and cooler heads will prevail.

But as I said earlier, we are now running out of time. It’s important for everybody to step up and show the leadership that the American people expect.

Thank you.

Charlton Heston’s Misinformation on Nigeria In The Arena

Without doubt, Charlton Heston is one of the greatest American actors of all time. He was a living legend until he passed on to eternal glory in April 2008. He was world famous for his heroic roles of Moses in The Ten Commandments, Ben Hur and The Planet of the Apes among many other classic films. He remains my favourite American actor and when I got a gift of his bestselling In the Arena: An Autobiography from one of my clients I was glad to include it as one of the most treasured books in my private library. But I discovered some very disturbing errors in Charlton Heston’s information on Nigeria, one of the many countries he had visited as a culture ambassador for his beloved country the United States of America. From pages 354 -356, he recalled his dramatic experiences whilst visting Nigeria after the country gained independence from the colonial British Empire.

The Estate of Charlton Heston and his publishers must address the terrible errors of misinformation on Nigeria is his autobiography
In The Arena published by Simon & Schuster in 1995.

It is unfortunate that he is not alive to make the corrections and really baffling that his editors could not correct them before the book was published. The mistakes were his erroneous name of President "Aziwiki" of Nigeria instead of President Nnamdi Azikiwe and if that was not bad enough, he also misinformed readers by saying President "Aziwiki" was assassinated by rival tribesmen from the north. But it was not the fact. It was not President Azikiwe that was assassinated, but the Prime Minister Alhaji Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, KBE (December 1912 – January 15, 1966) who was murdered in the infamous Major Patrick Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu, (1937–1967) military coup and his commandos of primarily junior officers of Igbo extraction on January 15, 1966.

Please, the above terrible mistakes on page 356 of In The Arena must be corrected before further damages are done by the misinformation of historical facts on the political history of Nigeria and Africa.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Citibank iPad® App for Digital Banking

Citibank Sets New Standard for Digital Banking with Debut of Citibank for iPad® App
One-of-a-kind app offers traditional ledger-style banking as well as rich graphics and visual representations of consumer accounts and transactions

NEW YORK – July 27, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Furthering CEO Vikram Pandit’s vision to become the world’s digital bank, Citibank today unveiled its first-ever consumer banking app designed specifically for iPad. Citibank for iPad® provides U.S. consumer banking clients with an engaging, visually rich tool to track, analyze and plan their finances.

“Our iPad app is all about listening to our clients and understanding that they need their digital banking experience to be more engaging and dynamic – beyond the standard static tables you find with other iPad apps,” said Tracey Weber, Head of Internet and Mobile Banking, North America Consumer Banking, Citi. “We’re offering a whole new way of banking, with enhanced visuals and interactive tools. We’re focused on continually offering modern solutions that help put ease into our clients’ financial lives, wherever and whenever.”

Citibank for iPad is the first app from a major U.S. bank to depart from traditional ledger-style banking and offer graphs and visual representations of consumer accounts and transactions. The intuitive user interface makes it easy for customers to check balances, control their cash flow, pay bills, transfer funds, access rewards and find nearby Citibank ATMs and branches, all at the touch of their screen.

Unlike other banking apps for iPad that mirror the PC or mobile phone interface, the Citibank app takes advantage of the unique tablet experience to provide users with a visually revealing, insightful interface along with a host of interactive new features.

New way of banking – More than just an account management tool, the app allows consumers to more deeply engage with their experience, from basic banking to more in-depth financial management. Advanced features allow users to view information and take actions that will make managing their finances easier, including:

* Plan cash outflows with the help of a unique interactive chart of past and future payments and transfers
* Analyze personal spending habits through automatically generated, customizable charts of payee spending
* Compare personal spending habits with general consumer data, filtering by location, age group, income bracket and purchase category

Access to Resources – Citibank for iPad also offers access to resources and information that help users manage their financial lives, including direct access to exclusive, continually updated content from Citi Personal Wealth Management and Women & Co., a service of Citibank.

Real-time customer service – Consumers can also use the app to reach customer service directly. Citi is the only major U.S. bank to offer direct access to its Twitter customer support option via its tablet app.
To Download or Learn More:

* Citibank for iPad is available free from the App StoreSM on iPad or at
* View a demo of Citibank for iPad on YouTube at:
* To learn more about Citi, please visit


Citi, the leading global financial services company, has approximately 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 160 countries and jurisdictions. Citi provides consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, transaction services, and wealth management. Additional information may be found at

Women & Co. is a vehicle from Citibank for insightful women to build their financial knowledge, bolster their confidence and create financial strategies that will help them achieve their goals. Through access to education, resources, and a community of financially minded women, Women & Co. is Where Wisdom, Wealth and Women Sign up for free today at

© 2011 Citigroup Inc. Citibank, N.A., Member FDIC. Citi and Citibank and Arc Design are registered service marks of Citigroup Inc. iPad and iTunes are registered trademarks of Apple Inc. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc. Content purchased from the iTunes store is for personal lawful use only. Don’t steal music.

Introducing Celine Dion Signature Fragrance

The Celine Dion Signature print advertising campaign was shot by renowned photographer Peter Lindbergh.

Introducing Celine Dion Signature

New York, NY (July 28, 2011) /PRNewswire/ — Coty Inc. announces an iconic new fragrance, Celine Dion Signature, launching worldwide in September 2011. Developed as an ode to Celine’s power to connect and inspire through her music, this timeless scent is the latest addition to the Celine Dion portfolio of fragrances. Since its introduction in 2003, the Celine Dion Fragrance House has continually remained a top performer in major markets across North America and Europe.

“Celine Dion is a signature icon. Her extraordinary ability to move and connect emotionally with her fans has played a major role in the global success of her fragrance franchise,” says Steve Mormoris, Senior Vice President Global Marketing at Coty Beauty. “This fragrance is the ultimate olfactive expression of Celine’s inspiring presence and innate charisma that continue to captivate audiences all over the world.”

Celine Dion’s iconic, powerful music crosses generations and transcends language, forming lasting bonds with people around the world. Through her power to connect and inspire, she holds a singular place in her fans’ hearts which is reflected in her classic new scent, Signature.

“My music provides me with a wonderful creative outlet to express my feelings and share these emotions with my fans,” explains Celine. “Creating the Signature fragrance allows me to reach my fans in a completely different, yet very personal way.”

Celine Dion Signature is an elegant, classic scent with modern appeal by Firmenich perfumer Ilias Ermenidis.

Top Notes: Mimosa Blossom, Pink Lady Apple, Juicy Guava
Middle Notes: Indian Jasmine, Rose Essence, Magnolia Blossom
Bottom Notes: Sensual Musk, Amberwood, Sandalwood

Celine’s iconic silhouette is etched into the bottle in relief, creating a stunning visual signature that evokes her everlasting appeal. The packaging is a reflection of Celine’s own classic elegance. Celine Dion Signature will be available in September 2011 at mass merchandisers and drug outlets in the United States and Europe.

About Coty Inc.

Coty was created in Paris in 1904 by François Coty who is credited with founding the modern fragrance industry. Today, Coty Inc. is a recognized leader in global beauty with annual net sales of nearly $4 billion. Driven by an entrepreneurial spirit, passion, innovation and creativity, Coty Inc. has developed an unrivaled portfolio of notable brands and delivers its innovative products to consumers in 90 markets worldwide.

For additional information about Coty Inc., please visit

Click here to order Celine Dion Signature Fragrance now

Thursday, July 28, 2011

British Airways Celebrate One Year to go to the London 2012 Olympic Games

28 Jul 2011 17:45 Africa/Lagos

British Airways Celebrate One Year to go to the London 2012 Olympic Games

CRAWLEY, England, July 28, 2011/PRNewswire-FirstCall/ --

British Airways, the official airline partner of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, is emblazoning 'One Year to Go' onto the belly of an Airbus A318 aircraft, to celebrate the milestone 365-day countdown to the start of the Olympic Games.

Flight 'BA001' from London City Airport to New York will display the celebratory message on its underbelly, as it departs at 1.05pm flying past the Olympic Park just minutes later.

It is expected that the message will be visible to those in parts of East London and at the Olympic Park. Footage will also be made available at

Garry Copeland, British Airways director of engineering, said: "This is the first time in the history of British Airways that we have branded the entire underbelly of an aircraft with a celebratory message. We hope it will bring a real sense of excitement to the Olympic Park and people living around the area.

"With the countdown underway, British Airways is preparing to welcome the world to Great Britain in 2012."

Customers will not miss the celebrations either - British Airways Captains will highlight that there's only one year to go until the 2012 Games to customers on board flights on the day.

British Airways will be offering flights to London [ ] from over 150 destinations worldwide for the London 2012 Games. With its close links to the Olympic Park, London City Airport is well placed for the 2012 Games, along with Heathrow Terminal 5; one of the official gateways to the Games, and home of British Airways.

British Airways is proud to be the official airline partner of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

About British Airways:

British Airways plc offers a wide range of worldwide destinations - including holidays in New York [ ] and holidays in Rome [ ], as well as flights, car rental with Avis and experiences. Customers can save time and money with when booking ATOL protected holiday packages, ATOL number is 5985. Passengers are offered added peace of mind to their holiday plans and the security of travelling with British Airways. British Airways plc constantly seeks to exceed customers' expectations, both in terms of the value for money and quality of the service provided.

Press Contact:
Claire Ioannou
Astral Towers
Betts Way
London Road
RH10 9XA

Source: British Airways

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Another woman journalist jailed for reporting rape allegations in Sudan

Sudan Tribune Sudanese female journalist in a protest against censorship (FILE)

25 Jul 2011 16:01 Africa/Lagos

Sudan / Another woman journalist jailed for reporting rape allegations

PARIS, July 25, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Amal Habani, a woman reporter for the daily Al-Jarida, was today sentenced to a fine of 2,000 pounds (600 euros) or a month in jail for reporting a woman activist's claims that she was raped by members of the security forces. As Habani refused to pay the fine, she was immediately taken to Omdurman women's prison, northwest of the capital, to begin serving the jail sentence.

Photograph of women protesting against rape in war torn Sudan.Credit: Rights Monitoring Organization.

Habani was convicted by Judge Modather Al-Rasheed of the Khartoum media court, who fined her editor, Saadeldin Ibrahim, 5,000 pounds (1,500 euros). Agence France-Presse quoted her lawyer as saying they were found guilty of publishing false information and violating journalistic ethics.

She is the second woman journalist working for Al-Jarida to be tried in the past three weeks for reporting human rights activist Safia Ishag's rape allegations. Fatima Ghazali was convicted on 5 July and was taken to Omdurman prison the same day. She was released two days later after paying her fine.

Seven other journalists and media contributors are due to be tried or are still the subject of judicial investigations for the same reason. They are Faisal Mohamed Salih, Babikir Omer Al-Garrai, Abdalla Al-Shaik, Mohamed Latif, Faiz Al-Selaik, Mohamed Osman and Dr. Nahid Al-Hassan.

More information:,40485.html

Source: Reporters without Borders (RSF)

26 Jul 2011 07:40 Africa/Lagos

Regional Conference On Migration In Africa Promotes Circular Labour Migration

GENEVA, July 26, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Migration experts are meeting this week in the Ghanaian capital, Accra, to discuss how Africa and the European Union can benefit from organized labour migration.

The conference which opened yesterday, 25 July, 2011, has been organized by the IOM through funds from the EU's AENEAS 2006 programme, which provides financial and technical support for countries on migration and asylum. It is attended by officials from EU, Africa and Canada as well as major international bodies, such as the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Southern African Development Commission (SADEC)

The conference builds on a previous event which took place in 2008, during which IOM with funds from the AENEAS 2006 programme, launched a Labour Migration Project for West Africa (LAMIWA). The project aimed at reversing the negative trends of increased irregular migrations from Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal to Europe, with Libya as the main transit country.

The conference is assessing the overall benefits of the LAMIWA programme on the participating countries, namely Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal and Italy. It also aims to gain understanding of different approaches taken by regional bodies to labour mobility.

One of the key areas for discussion is circular migration - a scheme whereby migrant workers from Africa enter the European labour market for a limited period of time in line with specific country entry quotas and then return home once their contracts are over.

This scheme will benefit migrants and both origin and the host countries. The countries of origin will benefit from the skills and knowledge acquired by the migrant workers, technology transfer, unemployment reduction and the remittances. Host countries will have access to migrant workers willing to fill short-term labour market needs.

Through LAMIWA project, a pilot scheme for circular migration scheme is taking place between Ghana and Italy. As part of the scheme, an initial group of twenty selected Ghanaian migrant workers will depart later this week for Italy where they will spend three months working in the agricultural sector. IOM will provide pre-departure counselling, including information on contract and working conditions as well as return and reintegration assistance in Ghana upon completion of the contract.

Apart from initiating circular migration scheme between Ghana and Italy, the funds provided by EU's AENEAS 2006 programme, have enabled IOM to provide assistance to the governments of Ghana and Nigeria in drafting labour migration policies, and support for the two governments' efforts to reduce irregular migration in the region.

In addition, AENEAS 2006 funding facilitated IOM to conduct national assessment of labour migration policies, legislation and practices in Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal and Libya.

Source: International Office of Migration (IOM)

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